Digital transformation

How can I help you mastering the digital transformation and set up a future-proof, competitive company?

The progressive, rapid development in the field of digitization is constantly opening up new possibilities for your company to develop and optimize its own structures and its network in order to increase its competitive and future viability.

Christoph Jacob Wappen

As a result of this rapid development and the resulting diversity of options for action, you, the decision makers in your company, are confronted with many questions and uncertainties in the further digitization of their processes and the raising of the associated potentials.

In order to master decision-making complexity, it is necessary to have a structured approach that supports your company in formulating its specific goal in the area of ​​digitization and in describing the path to achieving it.

Digitization is not a reversible trend where companies can choose to go with it or not. In order to remain competitive in the medium term, it is imperative to put the digitization of your company high on the agenda and to tackle the digital transformation quickly and actively. The faster your company does that, the better your market positioning and cost situation will be. Investing in digitization means head start, faster, error-free and cost-effective processes, more loyal customers and more efficient supplier relationships, optimized and automated production processes with networking in machine communication and ERP systems with the result of improved delivery capability.

The digital transformation describes a continuous process of change in companies based on digital technologies. The basis of the digital transformation is the transformation of analogue processes by digital technologies into digital processes. Digital processes are cheaper, faster and error-free.

Digital transformation is a change process that can affect all aspects, departments and applications in your company. For example, cooperation between people and machines reaches a new level. Until now it was a juxtaposition of people and machine, the future is characterized by a stronger common togetherness. They become a team and are mutually digitally networked with each other. Aspects such as the acceptance of technology and the qualification of your employees and leadership will be given a new status and become a key to digitization and a part of your corporate culture.

What degree of digitization does your company really need to remain competitive in the future? Which digitization solutions make sense for your company at all? In which stages do we reach the goals? What effort and investments are required for this?

In practice, it has been proven that we cluster companies in seven (7) subject areas and then analyze and transform them step by step. The following procedure makes it possible:

1. Employees

2. Corporate culture

3. Customers & markets

4. Organization

5. Processes

6. Products & offers

7. Services

This means that, as a first step, we enable employees and leadership to successfully use the instruments of digital transformation. In the next step, we involve customers and suppliers in order to determine the new digital processes. The goal is to offer your customers a faster, more flexible and better service.

At the same time, it tries to build the digital connection between your customer and your company in such a way that it is particularly easy for customers to work together optimally.

It is clear that new digital processes are becoming leaner, cheaper and more scalable, and that routine activities are being automated. This will allow for error-free working and replacement.

The same goes for the digital relationship with suppliers only in reverse. When developing new products and improving existing ones, completely new applications, digital products, innovations, and business models can be created individually and developed into a competitive advantage.

The following four steps describe the transformation process

Structured 5 phases Procedure

With the goal of developing the right and appropriate way for your company into the digital future, the following five-step approach has proven itself. It supports you in going through the necessary decision-making and development process for digitizing your processes step by step and consistently. As a result, you will receive an actionable roadmap with a timetable and a cost plan, which will show you a systematic development path in the field of digitization in the sense of your strategy. The essential aspects of these phases are briefly presented below.

In the initialization phase, the necessary framework for the development of the digitization strategy is set. This includes classic project management tasks, such as the installation of an interdisciplinary project team, the demarcation of the investigation area and the setting up of time and schedule. In addition, two other aspects are of particular importance:

1. Anchoring the relevance of digitization at both the management and the operational levels: this is the only way to ensure that the digitization of business processes receives sustained support from your company and at all levels, which later successive implementation requires. This is so crucial because the digitalization of business processes is not to be understood as a sprint, but the development of your company.

2. Creating a Unified Understanding: The development and implementation of your digitization strategy will only be successful if everyone involved has a common understanding of digitization. A clear definition of the relevant terminology as well as a reconciliation and understanding of the project participants’ understanding of digitization thus represents an essential basis for further successful project implementation.

The focus of the second phase is on defining and refining the goals pursued by digitization. It has to be clarified which different expectations the key internal and external stakeholders (management, operational level, customers, suppliers) place on the company processes or the efficiency of their company. Examples include reducing operating costs, ensuring stable processes, increasing transparency and increasing flexibility, as well as better and faster communication. These goals then form the basis for the identification of the fields of action and the evaluation of the potentially suitable digitization modules. Since the objectives of the different interest groups often diverge, it is important to weigh the goals among each other and thus prioritize them for further steps.

In the third phase, we have to work out in which areas / departments are the biggest levers for digitization? The basis for this is the recording of the actual state within the departments of the study areas. The primary aim is to gain transparency about the current process organization, including its information flows, and to record the degree of digitization that already exists. By comparing the current situation with the defined goals from phase two, the degree of fulfilment can be determined and the areas with the greatest need for action and maximum benefit can be identified.

The identification and evaluation of suitable solution components is the creative phase of the process model. Here it is necessary to develop digitization concepts for the fields of action with the greatest need for action. By focusing on specific starting points, appropriate searches for potentially suitable digitization solutions can be carried out in a more targeted manner, which significantly reduces the complexity. Which digitization modules are suitable for your company depends, among other things essentially from two questions:

1. Is your company willing to invest in new technologies, so-called “next-practice solutions”, or is it more likely to rely on already established solutions? The former however are riskier but offer the opportunity to not only catch up with competitors, but also to overtake them and realize competitive advantages.

2. What degree of digitization does your company “tolerate”? Digital solutions must also be geared to the circumstances in your company and fit in with the employees and the corporate culture, otherwise there is a risk of losing acceptance.

If different digitization approaches are available for an area, they should be evaluated and compared. This can be done by the following aspects:

1. Contribution of the solution components to the achievement of the defined goals,
2. Required expenditure for the realization,
3. Technological maturity of the solution options.

The conclusion of the process for the development of a digitization strategy is the derivation of a roadmap, which describes the path to the implementation of the desired digitization degree. For this, it has to be specified which changes on the levels human, technology, processes, organization and possibly infrastructure are to be carried out in order to implement the solution modules. The consideration of a cost estimate as well as the personnel resources required for the implementation secures the feasibility of the roadmap.

Christoph Jacob Wappen

I would like to help you to accompany the digital transformation in your company so that you are one of the winners in your competitive environment. Please contact me.